2001 Rating: 1 star
2001? Annus horribilis, as Queen Elizabeth might say. 2002? Much better, as anybody at FCB will tell you. Although Interpublic Group of Cos.' FCB lost clients such as Avaya; Compaq Computer Corp., which merged with Hewlett-Packard Co.; and part of the Mattel business, it still had $300 million-plus in new business. Wins include Qwest, the California State Lottery, Internal Revenue Service and work from existing clients such as Eli Lilly & Co. and Samsung. Creativity has improved greatly under Chicago office's Jonathan Harries worldwide creative director. Additions of Vice Chairman Charlie Taney and FCB North America Chief Operating Officer Gene Bartley have greatly improved corporate management structure under CEO Brendan Ryan.
One key bright spot for FCB was the turnaround of Yum! Brands' Taco Bell, handled jointly by the Irvine, Calif., and San Francisco offices. Also, FCB San Francisco is the apparent winner of the five-year, $125 million California State Lottery review, though the bid has been challenged by Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Los Angeles. In addition, FCB picked up the assignment for Levi Strauss & Co.'s new Signature jeans division, selling product to Wal-Mart Stores and other discount channels, potentially a substantial piece of business. And it closed the year winning a $10 million to $12 million Diet Coke account from Coca-Cola Co.
Just like last year, FCB desperately wants an automotive or airline account. But perhaps more importantly, the agency needs to ingratiate itself back into the good graces of parent Interpublic. The holding company has sometimes had a dim view of FCB following a rough 2001 in which the agency lost several key accounts.